Risk Analysis of Autonomous Vehicles in Mixed Traffic Streams

The introduction of autonomous vehicles in the surface transportation system could improve traffic safety and reduce traffic congestion and negative environmental effects. Although the continuous evolution in computing, sensing, and communication technologies can improve the performance of autonomous vehicles, the new combination of autonomous automotive and electronic communication technologies will present new challenges, such as interaction with other nonautonomous vehicles, which must be addressed before implementation. The objective of this study was to identify the risks associated with the failure of an autonomous vehicle in mixed traffic streams. To identify the risks, the autonomous vehicle system was first disassembled into vehicular components and transportation infrastructure components, and then a fault tree model was developed for each system. The failure probabilities of each component were estimated by reviewing the published literature and publicly available data sources. This analysis resulted in a failure probability of about 14% resulting from a sequential failure of the autonomous vehicular components alone in the vehicle’s lifetime, particularly the components responsible for automation. After the failure probability of autonomous vehicle components was combined with the failure probability of transportation infrastructure components, an overall failure probability related to vehicular or infrastructure components was found: 158 per 1 million mi of travel. The most critical combination of events that could lead to failure of autonomous vehicles, known as minimal cut-sets, was also identified. Finally, the results of fault tree analysis were compared with real-world data available from the California Department of Motor Vehicles autonomous vehicle testing records.


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01643685
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309441551
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 17-03231
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 15 2017 2:26PM